Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The BIG day!

Yesterday I drove hubby to the airport for his flight to Liberia. I just got off the phone with him, he arrived there just 2 short hours ago.

This is my first full day alone without him. Last night was quite lonely without him, I sure did miss our 'talk time' after the kids were in bed. I didn't have enough energy to start a project and work into the wee hours of the night. I was alone with myself and my God- praying, praying, praying and feeling every emotion possible. I felt anxiety, fear, excitement and anticipation...I tried for over an hour to fall asleep.

Today was busy, the rest of this week will be filled with things to do during the days. I was so happy to hear he made it safe and sound- it was quite an experience having him leave us and travel half way around the world. It is something wonderful we must do to get our children home, but it was also hard to see him go without me. I'm not the type of person who waits well- this is another chance for me to grow and learn to be patient! :) The outcome, however, is a HUGE blessing.

I just wanted to share a little of what hubby said to me in our phone conversation. He said the moment when he saw the children for the first time in the airport- the girls came running at him like crazy! They both jumped on him and almost knocked him down! What a wonderful sight that must have been. Our little guy (dear son #2) was quite reserved, he said. But now they can begin to enjoy each other and get to know each other. I will post more on what happens every day as hubby is in Liberia.

I have a busy night ahead of me. It's just about time to get costumes together and head out to our church for the Trick-or-Treat Hay Ride. DD #3 & DD#4 are going to be "farmer girls" & DS #3 is going to be a pirate. We've had a good time getting these costumes together- see the picture below! Have a blessed week...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

You'd think it was 20 degrees outside

I had a good laugh this morning! The kids have a daily routine of getting the mail. All 3 of them walk down the driveway together, sometimes all holding hands. Then the 5 year old and the 2 year old stand in the yard about 30 feet from the edge of the road. This is the 'safe zone.' The 7 year old stands at the end of the driveway, looks both ways down the road and then proceeds to the mailbox to get the mail. After returning to the driveway, all 3 children meet up together and proceed to walk back to the house. Every morning, I watch in the window to make sure they stay safe and follow 'procedure.' This daily chore makes them feel important and gives them responsibility (keep the baby away from the road!). **By the way, we don't live on a busy road at all- we're out in the country. I wouldn't let them that close to the road if there was a great possibility for danger...

As I watched and chuckled at them this morning, I noticed their attire. They all had suited up in the garage before going on their daily mission. Each child had mud boots on, warm jackets, hats & mittens. I laughed because it's 45 degrees and rain. We must be acclimated because we would only dress like this (when we lived in Wisconsin) when it was below freezing. Mid-winter, 45 degrees used to be a t-shirt day. That was warm compared to the -10 to -30 degree winter days. Well, here we are in southern Arkansas 'dressed' for the weather. I actually considered building a fire the other night just to get the dampness out of the house.

The fireplace will soon get enough use as we prepare for the heating season. Off to Walmart to buy plastic for the sunroom windows. They leak so badly there's almost a breeze. hehe
I do look forward to autumn and winter. There's just something about a fire in the fireplace and warm, fuzzy clothes. Slippers & blankets and a warm cup of tea or coffee. This weather puts me in the baking spirit- I made 4 pumpkin pies yesterday!

Hubby leaves in 5 days for Liberia. I finished packing one suitcase last night. That particular suitcase holds all 4 children's backpacks with clothes/activities for the trip home as well as gifts to give away to a local orphanage. It was fun picking out their 'coming home outfits' yesterday and packing them up. I have a few last minute things to get for the other suitcase and I can pack that up. I'm trying to be 'ahead of schedule' a few days instead of running behind. The majority of the work was done a month ago when we thought he was leaving. The suitcases have just sat in a corner in our room for the past few weeks, waiting to be re-packed.

Yesterday, I also reflected at the timing of all the children coming home. I was thanking God all day that he is allowing us to be together as a family during this holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas are our family favorites. 3 of the Liberian children also have birthdays during this time. We're going to have 2 months of absolute fun- what a better way to bond as a family? 2 months of partying?? I remember my sorrow last year as we prepared for Christmas- half of our family was missing. It was still a wonderful time but when we called Liberia Christmas Day to speak to 'the other half,' my heart was a little sad. This year is a joyous year, we will all be together under one roof. Thank you, God, for your abundant blessings!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several time a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go... Hmm... Where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. ...

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think "where are my priorities?

And no dropped calls!

Mighty to Save

Whew! I just watched this on a fellow 'adoptive mama's' blog & I am totally in awe. This sums it up for me, I couldn't say it any better if I tried... The lyrics are amazing, it is not only how we think about our children, but ultimately how Christ sees & relates to us. True love~ absolutely amazing, true love. Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Getting Ready

I am so excited! The time is near- my hubby leaves in 12 days for Liberia. We've actually been happy to wait this extra month- ds#2 will be coming home with everyone else. Things are just about complete, one more passport to obtain and everything is ready. When hubby gets to Liberia, he will just have to obtain the visas for all 4 children and get their exit medical exams done- then it's homeward bound! As of now, hubby- all 4 children- & 'grandma' will be coming home on November 8th.

When I look back at the past year and a half, I am marveled at miracle after miracle God has blessed our family with. Our faith has grown by leaps and bounds, our marriage has strengthened, & our family has grown even closer together. If we weren't ready before, we are ready now. We can (and do) stand united as the bumps, twists & turns come at us- we've learned to stand strong in the storms that blow upon us. We've learned to trust God with EVERYTHING & know with absolute certainty that He will see us through the tough times. Even when we walk through the valleys, we've learned to not bring more suffering upon ourselves. We've learned to walk with confidence and cast all our burdens upon the Lord. Everything until now seems to have been 'practice' for this journey. We've gone through a lot as a family, and we'll probably continue to struggle in the future. We know, however, that it is not a hopeless struggle. We know it is a momentary feeling and there is always a way up. We now have eternal optimism. What a blessing it is to finally find and accept that!

As a mom, I am 100% ready to accept everything that walks through 'this' door. I am ready for anything and everything all 7 of our children bring. I am ready for the blessings, I am ready for the joy & I am even ready for the tough times. I've felt a certain emptiness after 'baby' was born. Something wonderful changed in my heart the day I held her in my arms. At that point, we had no idea we'd be heading towards Liberia. I just knew there was more to life, more to do, more to enjoy, more children I would mother. As we began the adoption process and the 1 child we asked for turned to 4 children, I knew this was 'it.' I knew this is what God made me to be. I knew this was my destiny as a mother. For the first time in my life, I felt extreme peace. I felt peace that I would no longer search for my 'place or destiny.' I felt so blessed by the 3 miracles God placed within my womb- but now I would be blessed again, only from within my heart. I saw something once that explained adopted & biological children this way:
3 children home-grown & 4 children heart-grown

I thought that was a really interesting way to say it. All children 'came' from within, all children are a gift from God, all the children belong here no matter how they got here. As I've been preparing even more this last month, I've found more and more peace with the life change that is about to occur. I've had more time to love on our 3 'babies', more time to talk to them, more time to teach them about what is about to happen in our family.

As I've been praying and thinking about what to post on, this wonderful song came to me. I've posted in the past about songs & how meaningful they are to me. I wanted to share this one with you because it speaks volumes on what we've learned in the last year and a half. May you be blessed by these lyrics~

Praise you in this Storm- Casting Crowns
I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away


I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sweet Baby

Our baby (dear daughter #4) just turned 2- along with that mile marker comes two things: potty training & moving to the 'big girl bed.' Last night, she wanted to sleep in her 'big girl bed.' This is the bottom bunk, to which dd#3 sleeps above. As I laid with baby, trying to ease her adjustment into dreamland from a 'foreign' bed- I pretended to sleep. I watched her through peeking eyelids and observed as she looked around the room and tried to settle in.

She ended up going back in the crib after about an hour of laying with her. She just couldn't do it- not just yet. She's trying though... we'll try again when she feels ready. I feel proud that she's going to make this transition soon but very sad that 'the baby' is growing up right before my eyes.

**This section of the post was added to 11/8/07:
Baby fell asleep in her big girl bed last night. She slept there until 4am- she woke up when I entered the room to check DD #3's blood sugar. I tried to lay with her so she could fall back asleep- she wanted back in the crib. She slept there until 8am this morning. I took a picture for daddy cause he missed her first 'half-night' in the big girl bed. Even though her nickname is "Sass-a-Frass" - she sure is cute all passed out and comfy, looking like a big girl!

Monday, October 01, 2007

October 1st

I'm speaking with someone in Liberia just about once a day now. It's either 'grandma,' 'Mother Africa,' or ds#1. I spoke with 'Mother Africa' today and she updated me on all the paperwork info. Her and I are working so closely together to make sure everything is taken care of. She's been working so hard, on our behalf, running just about every day. Our idea of 'running around' is nothing compared to what I hear Africa is like. 'Grandma' tells me that it is about 3 times as difficult to do something in Liberia/Africa as it is here. 'Mother Africa' doesn't own a car (this isn't uncommon) so she either walks or has to pay a taxi/cab everywhere she needs to go.

Many times when I am talking with her, I try to picture where she is and what is going on around her. Sometimes I hear loud talking, cars honking, or rain just pouring down! I can only imagine what she is going through-on our behalf, on our children's behalf! She is truly a woman of God- a woman of strong faith and conviction.

I just received an email from a family who is now in the same position as we were before being connected with 'Mother Africa.' This is a little bit of encouragement I wrote to the mom tonight- this is what I've been 'holding on to' for all these months:

"There was a story I heard one time about a swimmer that was trying to cross a big lake. A thick fog rolled in and he got nervous because he couldn't see the upcoming shoreline anymore. He thought he was just about there, but the more dense the fog got- the more nervous he became about not being able to see the shore. He couldn't take it anymore and turned around. When the fog lifted, he determined that he was just about to the shore when he turned around and went back. That is EXACTLY where we are now. We can't see the hands in front of our faces, but we've GOT to keep walking forward in faith. God is a God of completion, He will finish what He started. We are almost there and can't turn back now!
Take care & keep your faith strong."

'Grandma' is still in Liberia.' It looks like she may be coming home around the time hubby may leave for Liberia (I'm guessing depending on when we purchase the plane ticket and flight availability). I will be happy to hear stories of her trip and stories about our children!

DD #2 (dear daughter #2) wasn't feeling well today. 'Mother Africa' said she gave her some pain reliever and dd#2 seemed to respond well. I pray she will be better soon and it's not too serious. DS#2 (dear son #2) is also trying to take the medication given to him by the MD. 'Mother Africa' reports he is scared of the pills (it's not liquid) and is scared to try and swallow them. I told her to try mashing the pills with the back of a spoon and mixing them in his food. Hopefully that will be better and she can get the meds in him a little easier.

I can't wait until my 'babies' are home safe and sound and I can put some of this nursing education to good use! Atleast a lot of TLC and bedside manner that the Liberian kids aren't used to...

That's it for now, I'll post again soon. I will be so proud when all of you can read these posts-it's hard to write all these things knowing nobody is reading them. I am grateful, however, that I've journaled all these steps thus far. I can't wait to post pictures for you!